Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: October 2010

I'm feeling hormonal

You already know that massage has countless health benefits for the body and the mind. But did you ever think that getting a massage could positively influence hormonal changes? The New York Times reported a recent study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. One group of volunteers received 45 minutes of deep tissue massage, while a second group was given light Swedish massage for the same amount of time. Blood and saliva samples were taken from each group before and after the massage session.

Amazingly, even a single 45-minute massage created significant physiological changes. Those who received the deep-tissue massage showed lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as lower levels of arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can elevate cortisol. They also registered elevated levels of lymphocytes, white blood cells that support the immune system (see scientific diagram above). The group that received light massage had increased oxytocin, a feel-good hormone, otherwise known as the "love hormone." They also showed a decrease in other hormones that allow cortisol to be released. In other words, those who receive massage are happier, less stressed, and have heightened immunity. This study, along with the ever-growing research on therapeutic massage, further demonstrates that whether you prefer light pressure or deeper work, the healing benefits will extend throughout your entire body, right down to the hormones in your blood!

Good night, sleep tight ...

"Teaching deep relaxation techniques during the daytime can help improve sleep at night," concluded Dr. Ramadevi Gourineni, director of Northwestern Memorial Hospital's insomnia program, after a research study was conducted on people suffering from chronic primary insomnia. Massage Therapy Journal explains that one group of subjects practiced a form of meditation called Kriya Yoga, and a second group received health education. The results? The quality and quantity of sleep significantly improved for the meditation group. Even more, the meditation group experienced less depression. So, take a little time for yourself each day, and get a long restful sleep at night.

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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